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Thread: Short-term apartment lets in Cape Town could be illegal

  1. #1

    Default Short-term apartment lets in Cape Town could be illegal

    https://www.property24.com/articles/...rceFeed=News24

    With the advent of online rental portals making it easy for landlords to manage and advertise their properties without the need of a letting agent, there have been many property investors choosing to rent their units out as short-terms let in the areas that have a high influx of tourists in recent years.

    What they might not have checked, though, is whether they are legally allowed to do so, says Michael Bauer, managing director of property company SAProperty.com.

    A recent news report has highlighted the need for those who rent their units out as holiday accommodation in Cape Town to check the zoning of their property and to apply for permission from the City of Cape Town’s Development Management Department.

    The City’s Development Management Scheme permits B&Bs to be run without any special permits from General Residential (GR) zoned properties where there is a house (and perhaps attached cottage), subject to compliance with conditions.

    In a large percentage of cases, though, the unit being let would be an apartment - which is actually not allowed, according to the City’s Municipal Planning Bylaw (MPBL) together with its policies and frameworks. Owners of units in apartment blocks could convert sections to holiday accommodation and allow short-term tenants to occupy their units, but they have to apply for permission to the City of Cape Town to do so.

    However, even if the City does grant permission, it does not necessarily mean that the body corporate has to, or will, consent, says Bauer.

    “Short-term letting in sectional title schemes is generally not welcomed by many - trustees and residents alike,” says Bauer. “Short-term letting leaves many schemes vulnerable in terms of security, with the high turnover of occupants - who, it is assumed, might not look after keys or remote controls for the complex as well as the owners would, which poses a security risk.”

    Another aspect of short-term letting that causes friction among residents is that holidaymakers tend to be in a relaxed state of mind and sometimes could create more noise than they realise, therefore disrupting the quiet environment other occupants have worked hard to maintain in their complexes, he says.

    Many sectional title schemes have banned short-term letting and have written this into their conduct rules, so those who are renting out sectional title units as short-term lets would have to check the rules of their schemes as well as apply for consent from the City.

    Those who are already renting their units out as holiday accommodation might be tempted to just continue as is, but Bauer says be warned, as the City has implemented processes for the public to lodge formal complaints and the City will institute legal action against those in contravention of the law.

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    Default 'Report Airbnb apartments without consent' - Cape Town


    More and more people are letting flats in apartment buildings for short- term holiday use, especially on Cape Town's Atlantic seaboard, but Brett Herron, mayco member for transport and urban development, says this is not permitted without city consent.

    He encouraged people who knew of contraventions to the municipal planning by-laws to provide details to the city's law enforcement staff "who will proceed with legal action if needed/warranted".

    The by-laws do not affect BnBs and guesthouses because the accommodation is provided in a house or second house on a property, but holiday lets cannot be provided from blocks of flats.

    Herron said: "In terms of municipal planning by-laws, a block of flats cannot be used for holiday accommodation or hotel purposes. Any owner wishing to do short-term holiday letting from a block of flats, irrespective of the platform facilitating such letting - such as Airbnb or otherwise - must ensure the property is appropriately zoned, and must apply for consent from the city's development management department."

    Because Airbnb and transient accommodation is a "complicated matter", Herron advises potential applicants to request pre-application consultation sessions with land use planners.

    The situation is different for owners of units in sectional title developments and complexes.

    Marina Constas, specialist sectional title attorney, says holiday letting in line with Airbnb and short-term holiday rental trends is "bad news" for unit owners.

    She says investors who buy properties in residential blocks and rent these out on a shortterm basis are jeopardising the reputations, property values and security of sectional title developments. This includes premier residential complexes in coastal towns and cities, where there is a "burgeoning demand for secure, affordable, self-catering holiday accommodation".

    "This is becoming a growing problem in Cape Town, particularly on the Atlantic seaboard.

    "While holidaymakers may be delighted to rent for a week in quiet, sea-facing complexes, the unfortunate permanent residents are faced with unknown people coming and going, and the associated problems and risks."

    However, Constas, a director of BBM Attorneys and author of Demystifying Sectional Title, says there are solutions. To protect the complex's reputation, maintain security and preserve property values, sectional title trustees must ensure the development's conduct rules prohibit short-term letting.

    "Where conduct rules need to be amended to put in a clause prohibiting letting for less than six months, this can be done by way of a special resolution.

    Constas says short-term rentals are "not in the spirit of the Sectional Titles Act".

    "Trustees have a fiduciary duty, and they can take control to meet this duty and protect their building."

    Cape Town appears to be the only major city to have by-laws covering holiday letting. Durban did not respond to inquiries.

    Airbnb legislation internationally
    In December, Airbnb's legal battle against city lawmakers across the world collapsed with the company introducing a "One Host, One Home" feature in New York and San Francisco.

    That feature prevents hosts from listing more than one entire home, reversing a long-held stance that self-policing would be cumbersome and logistically unrealistic.

    The company agreed in a deal with London and Amsterdam to ensure hosts met local licensing requirements and to enforce caps on the number of days an entire apartment could be rented out each year.

    In October last year, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill to make it illegal to advertise on Airbnb entire unoccupied apartments for less than 30 days. In February, the city began fining people who ignored the ban.

    In Berlin, it became illegal last year for owners to rent out entire apartments to tourists without a permit from the city. Heavy fines are being imposed.
    http://www.iolproperty.co.za/roller/...airbnb_letting

  3. #3

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    hmm.

    large hotel groups lobbying me thinks..

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    Quote Originally Posted by access View Post
    hmm.

    large hotel groups lobbying me thinks..
    They started get iffy about this in Thailand as well - turned out it was exactly that - the resorts getting pee'd off at AirBNB's charging a fraction of their stupid rates. Now everyone has to get a "hotel license" just to run a BnB without police "harassment" (read: bribery).

  5. #5

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    I definitely agree with the block of flats argument.

    I have raised the issue several times at trustee meetings, things like guests expecting our concierge to assist them with checking in and out as well as the access control issues which arise does introduce risk into the building.
    Quote Originally Posted by Beerisgood View Post
    Godammit if I meet you I'll eat your eyes out for dinner.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by saturnz View Post
    I definitely agree with the block of flats argument.

    I have raised the issue several times at trustee meetings, things like guests expecting our concierge to assist them with checking in and out as well as the access control issues which arise does introduce risk into the building.
    indeed, as well as the lack of respect for the people who own the apartment and live there.

    some holiday people are in party mode, they get back at 4am and continue the party on the balcony for all to hear.

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    So the COCT bans AirBNB, then 2 years down the line will complain about the lack of tourists.

    If I were managing a sectional title place, I wouldn't ban AirBnB. Rather I would rather placate it by creating an extra levy for owners who want to use their apartments for short term leases. That levy can then cover the access control issues as well as paying SaturnZ's concierge to help them with checking in and out.

    Stifling innovation is never a good idea. All the City of Cape Town is doing is protecting the pockets of the hotel companies.

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    Flat above my rental is an AirBnB rental, owner lives in Knysna. 3 times this year they have flooded the floor in the bathroom and kitchen, to the extent that water is dripping from the ceiling in the kitchen. One visitor left the tap running and water was coming out from under the front door

    On contacting the owner, she says "deal with it" and puts down the phone. The BC and Sectional Title agents have written her at least 10 emails, she ignores them all

    At the moment, the BC and I will pay half for a lawyer to do his bit. Lawyer has already written to her without result, so the summons will be delivered next week
    Things won are done; joy's soul lies in the doing

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by konfab View Post
    So the COCT bans AirBNB, then 2 years down the line will complain about the lack of tourists.

    If I were managing a sectional title place, I wouldn't ban AirBnB. Rather I would rather placate it by creating an extra levy for owners who want to use their apartments for short term leases. That levy can then cover the access control issues as well as paying SaturnZ's concierge to help them with checking in and out.

    Stifling innovation is never a good idea. All the City of Cape Town is doing is protecting the pockets of the hotel companies.
    Pretty much spot on.

    Besides, in my opinion, time for housing and rental prices to tumble in Cape Town. No better way than to keep them investment properties empty and force buyers / investors to buy elsewhere in the world.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adrianax View Post
    Pretty much spot on.

    Besides, in my opinion, time for housing and rental prices to tumble in Cape Town. No better way than to keep them investment properties empty and force buyers / investors to buy elsewhere in the world.
    complete rubbish
    cape town has never had a shortage of tourists - going back long before the spawning of airbnb.
    as to your opinion - the same investment properties have always been sold - long before the spawning of airbnb - but yea stellar logic from you - drive investors away from the country.

    common airbnb problem in buildings:
    noise
    parking problems
    litter
    overcrowding
    total strangers off the internet having complete access to the building during thier 3 day stay

    if people want to run a hotel operation in a block of flats, they must be subject to the very same regulations as the hotels they are competing with - compete by all means, but on a level playing field

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    Super Grandmaster NarrowBandFtw's Avatar
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    Why get the city involved in an issue the various body corporates / trusts and HOA's can easily handle by themselves?
    none so blind as those who refuse to see

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    Quote Originally Posted by NarrowBandFtw View Post
    Why get the city involved in an issue the various body corporates / trusts and HOA's can easily handle by themselves?
    By-laws were in place before the arrival of airbnb. Airbnb needs to comply with existing legislation of the cities in which they choose to operate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grant View Post
    By-laws were in place before the arrival of airbnb. Airbnb needs to comply with existing legislation of the cities in which they choose to operate.
    Certainly, AirBNB needs to comply with existing laws.

    In this case the legislation seems unnecessary to me, but seeing as it already exists I'll rephrase the question:
    Why is the city involved in an issue the various body corporates / trusts and HOA's can easily handle by themselves?
    none so blind as those who refuse to see

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    It's going too far for the city to decide who can and can't stay on your property provided it's within reason. Sure, in flats this creates potential issues for residents, but then that is something that must be controlled by the body corporate. If the majority don't want short leases, then so be it. Another arrangement which will become more common is the body corporate issuing an extra per night levy for AirBNB rentals - which is a win-win for many complexes as it allows residents to rent out on AirBNB but the convenience is counteracted by extra revenue for the body corporate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NarrowBandFtw View Post
    Certainly, AirBNB needs to comply with existing laws.

    In this case the legislation seems unnecessary to me, but seeing as it already exists I'll rephrase the question:
    Why is the city involved in an issue the various body corporates / trusts and HOA's can easily handle by themselves?
    it's not for body corporates, hoa's etc to apply city by-laws - they have neither the mandate nor authority to do so.
    thier authority extends as far as the registered conduct rules of the building as registered at the deeds office & can only act within the perimeters of the sectional titles act (in the case of bodies corporate)

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